Punjab: Uranium-laced Drinking Water
By Anuj Wankhede *
It is a matter of shame that a country boasts about its technical expertise yet falls short of common sense.
What else can one say about the Government of India which collectively buries its head in the sand and pretends that the only science which exists in the world is the science of boiling water by using nuclear energy?
For these scientists, there is no such thing as medical science. It makes me wonder where these nuclear scientists and their families go to when they fall ill. Do they take uranium or tritium pills thrice a day to get well?
For, they simply do not accept anything medically proven if the word radioactive is used in conjunction with it. Like proud, over protective (and often stupid) parents, they do not accept that their baby can ever do any wrong – let alone murder!
And their babies are uranium, plutonium, tritium, and cesium among others.
It has been proven that any kind of internal radiation causes genetic mutations within the cells and body tissues. My earlier article on the blatant lies about tritium poisoning at Rawatbhata, Rajasthan explained this process.
Reports about the extremely high levels of uranium in drinking water in Punjab today caused a worried population to ask questions about the safety of the water and whether it was potable.
One would imagine that the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) would come up with scientifically studied answers. After all, this issue has been in the headlines since 2009 when world renowned scientists studied extremely high incidence of cancer, cerebral palsy, autism and other serious genetic defects in children born in certain areas of Punjab.
It has been proven beyond any doubt that radiation poisoning is far more dangerous when it enters the food chain. Even a high school student learns about this.
But the learned scientists with NPCIL, BARC, UCIL and sundry associated organizations along with their proud father – DoAE – have apparently never seen the inside of a school and may well have picked up the tag of nuclear scientist from some fly-by-night college in Karol Baug!
How else does one explain this statement by the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) R K Sinha to the media that
Sir, I sincerely hope that this statement make sense at least to you.
Uranium enters the body and the radiation does NOT distinguish between different organs. Radiation does NOT have any powers to identify body parts and selectively attack it. High concentrations of these poisonous elements are found in the kidneys and liver because these organs are the purification organs, they try to remove the toxins from the body and when they cannot successfully remove them, these toxins remain in these organs. Hence the high rate of kidney failure.
Mr. Sinha, I hope that the above sentence will drop a penny and you will understand how the human body functions.
There is a whole body of scientific literature to prove that radiation causes cancer and internal radiation significantly increases all kinds of cancer and genetic disorders. I am deliberately not adding too much of medical or scientific data as the learned scientists would not understand the moot point.To even talk of Nuclear Medicine may well draw a blank with them.
It is well known and documented and proven in the High Court that the huge thermal power plants at Bhatinda, Punjab spew enormous amount of fly ash into the environment. It is also proven that the fly ash contains significant amount of radioactive material including uranium. It is well accepted that the incidence of cancer and genetic defects is the highest in areas around these highly polluting thermal power plants. This has been conclusively proven in a number of cases around the world (Duke Energy in the US is currently under fire for the same reasons – high incidence of cancer, asthma etc.)
I do not know what kind of scientific temperament the Indian nuclear establishment possesses, for, this is not just a matter of 2+2=4.
All the rules of science including the observations, measurement, cause and effect linkages and the repeatability have proven the fact that radiation causes cancer. More the radiation, more the chances. Longer the duration, higher the chances. Ingesting radiation, much higher the risk. Radiation is carcinogenic. Period.
Nobody in the world disputes this. Nobody, except the nuclear industry which believes that radiation is the best thing that happened to mankind after Adam and Eve.
Which simply goes on to prove that the people in the above mentioned institutions are in fact NOT scientists at all.
As far as their specialty is concerned, they are not even experts in anything remotely nuclear or atomic.
All that they are good at is doing a cut-copy-paste job of existing nuclear reactors in other countries and even for this job they need Russian, French, American and Croatian experts to do the job properly.
At best, these people who flippantly say eating uranium or tritium is not harmful are nothing but career paper pushing bureaucrats. Their only ambition in life is to preserve their department which will ensure their promotions and retirement kitty. So what if they blatantly lie to the unsuspecting people? A bit of political connection and sycophancy ensures that these barely literate babus reach positions where they control enormous sums of money and power. The little bit of science they might have gathered in their teens is long forgotten and scarcely needed when making false claims.
To understand why the DAE is not admitting that the thermal plants are the root cause is because it will imply that the cause is linked to the government and thence comes liability - the one word which sends shivers down the spine of any career bureaucrat. After all, they are so used to powers without responsibility. To admit fault is simply not in the DNA of any energy company on this planet.
Hence the DAE claims that sub soil granite in Haryana state are the cause of uranium in Punjab waters.
They have made this claim since 2009 but have not been able to prove it. At this point, it does not matter what the source of uranium is. It could well be rampant use of fertilizers or pesticides or atmospheric uranium travelling from Afghanistan where the US has been using large number of unknown weapons. Nobody knows for sure and that suits the nuclear establishment well. They are anyway experts at muddying clear waters.
What matters is that recent advances in medicine have shown that the effects of radiation poisoning can be reversed. But for this to happen, the government agencies must admit that that there is a serious risk to life and limb. But the paper pushers will not do it. They will claim that Kaiga, Rawatbhata, Punjab are far healthier than the rest of India because they drank radiated water. They will get some more government bodies to do a study, set up committees and buy time for themselves. Retirement beckons them and post retirement, the coveted Directorship to various international organizations along with huge perks awaits them as they have rendered unparalleled service to the nation!
Meanwhile, parts of India will continue to die and be permanently disabled and future generations condemned because of the greed of these few.